13th December 2005
CSA to be forced to collect arrears?
The CSA's decision in a case not to collect arrears was overturned by a court. If this sets a precedent, it could have a big impact.
“ I blame her for not cooperating but I blame the CSA more. If people can avoid paying they will avoid paying and that's why it is at fault. I don't think they have made a really serious attempt to charge her or collect the money. ”
Martin, the parent with care
"STEPHEN LAWSON, a member of Forshaws, acted for a father who has won a first-round victory in a legal challenge that could force the Child Support Agency (CSA) to collect £1.3 billion in unpaid maintenance from absent parents. The father lodged judicial review proceedings when the CSA refused to collect more than £50,000 of arrears from his former wife. Its decision not to enforce the arrears was quashed by the High Court".
What are the possible implications of this case?
"They are huge - the CSA touches the lives of two million parents and 1.5 million children - there are arrears in 40 per cent of cases. CSA recovery and enforcement policy has been shambolic. The CSA was, for too long, too complacent and unwilling to listen to mums or dads. Hopefully at last the CSA will "put money where mouths are" as recommended by Resolution, the Family Lawyers Association. The CSA has promised to rewrite its enforcement guide".
"Martin, 43, who now qualifies for Legal Aid, is leading the nationwide fight against the Child Support Agency whose job it was to recover the maintenance from his ex-wife. His case has prompted the CSA to rewrite its policies and to set up a new enforcement directorate. Millions of lone parents like him are set to benefit if and when the CSA finally gets its act together....
"... Martin rang the CSA expecting things would change. But even though he did their detective work for them, nothing happened. Finally, a judge sitting at a tribunal ordered his ex-wife to pay back-dated maintenance of £50,000 based on her lifestyle which included buying a house with cash, owning several cars, holidaying abroad and having a breast enlargement operation".